|By Shawn Childs, Tuesday, August 20, 2019|
(Editor's note: This is the free preview of the Arizona Cardinals team outlook. If you already are a premium subscriber to FullTime Fantasy, click here for our premium expanded Arizona Cardinals Team Outlook. The expanded team outlook also includes sections covering the coaching staff, offensive line, schedule, free agency, 2019 draft picks, defense & more.)
Arizona Offense Outlook
2018 was a disaster in all areas on offense. They ran the ball 41.8 percent of the time with no value in any Fantasy format passing the ball. The change of QB should lead to more excitement offensively this year.
QB Kyler Murray - Gamble (high risk)
Update 12/21/19With a string of three straight starts at home, Murray came up short in each outing (15.95, 14.90, and 19.55 FPPG). He slipped to 7th in QB scoring (21.60 FPPG) in four-point TD leagues. Murray played well twice in 2019 over a pair of two-game stretches (27.95/32.20 and 31.00/28.20 Fantasy points). In Week 4 at home vs. Seattle, he gained 268 combined yards with one rushing TD. The Seahawks are 19th in the league defending the QB position (21.29 FPPG). No QB scored over 26.90 Fantasy points vs. Seattle. They allow 7.2 yards per pass attempt with 18 TDs (no games with more than two TDs allowed). Wrong kind of swing based on Murray’s recent path.
RB David Johnson - Stud (low risk)
Update 12/14/19Johnson has been just about DOA in the Fantasy market since Week 6, but he did show a spark vs. the Steelers (53 combined yards with a TD and two catches on five touches). The Cardinals had him on the field for 37 percent of the RB snaps. Before Week 14, he gained only 36 yards with three catches on 13 touches in four games. A viable flier with a matchup that may lead to 20-plus Fantasy points if he gets the hot hand early.
RB Kenyan Drake - Solid/Safe Pick
Update 12/29/19Over the previous two weeks, Drake turned into a beast. He gained 330 combined yards with six TDs and four catches on 50 touches. His success in Arizona over seven games (731 combined yards with seven TDs and 25 catches) pushed him 16th RB scoring (13.19 FPPG) in PPR leagues. Drake also shined in Week 9 (162 combined yards with a TD and four catches). In Week 13, he gained 51 combined yards with two catches on 15 touches vs. the Rams. Los Angeles sits 15th in RB defense (23.77 FPPG) with failure in two games (49.00 and 53.30 FPPG). They allow 4.1 yards per rush with RBs scoring 16 TDs. Tempting for sure, but Drake did get banged up a couple of times in Week 16 plus his matchup isn’t ideal. Overpriced for me.
RB Chase Edmonds - Fantasy Handcuff
Update 10/26/19The Cardinals pulled the goalie with David Johnson after three snaps and one carry for two yards in Week 7, setting up and under the radar monster day for Edmonds. He gained 150 combined yards with three TDs and two catches on 29 touches. The early signs point to another start next week. The Saints regained their stout RB status over the previous five games (17.44 FPPG), pushing them to fourth in RB defense. RBs gain 4.2 yards per rush with three TDs. The Cardinals’ RBs have been active over the last month, but this looks to be a low upside matchup.
RB T.J. Logan - Not Draft Worthy
Over four seasons at North Carolina, Logan rushed for 2,165 yards on 398 carries with 19 rushing TDs plus 76 catches for 663 yards and four more TDs. T.J. never had a season where he was the lead back in college. He runs with a home run gear, which will offer value in the return games or as a change of pace option. Logan plays well in the passing game with a higher enough skill set to pass protect. He returned five kickoffs in 77 chances with the Tar Heels. T.J. missed all of 2017 with a wrist injury while barely touching the ball last season (49 combined yards with seven catches and nine touches).
WR Hakeem Butler - Dynasty Only
Fair Evaluation: More of a project with flier value.
In his final year at Iowa State, Butler caught 60 balls for 1,318 yards and nine TDs. He also showed big-play ability in 2017 (41/697/7). Hakeem is a big target, but he does lack quickness, and his pass routes need plenty of work. Hakeem will catch many contested balls while being a load to tack down in the open field. Possible red zone threat with a chance to surprise in some games when defenses overlook him. Larry Fitzgerald may be a crucial part of his development.
WR Larry Fitzgerald - Quality Backup
Update 11/30/19After three small games (1/12, 2/8, and 4/38), Fitzgerald flashed in Week 10 (8/71) while adding his third TD in Week 11 (5/37/1). His best value came over the first three games (8/113/1, 5/105, and 5/36/1). After ten games, he has 55 catches for 593 yards and three TDs on 76 targets. CB Nickell Robey-Coleman minimizes the damage in yards allowed and TDs. Trending in a boring direction with a below-par WR/CB matchup.
WR Christian Kirk - Super Sleeper (high risk/potential)
Update 12/29/19Kirk didn’t have a catch last week on five targets. Kirk lost momentum over his previous four games (6/41, 3/23, 8/85, and 4/33) before Week 16 after shining in Week 10 (6/138/3). He has three other viable games (6/114, 10/59, and 8/79) while averaging 8.4 targets per game. Kirk gains only 10.6 yards per catch. The Rams rank 14th in WR defense (32.83 FPPG – 188/2274/12 on 300 targets). With Kyler Murray questionable to play on Sunday, Kirk looks to weaker option while expecting to face CB Jalen Ramsey in coverage.
WR KeeSean Johnson - Dynasty Only
Update 10/04/19With Christian Kirk out this week, Johnson should receive a big portion of his snaps and opportunity. Last week the Cardinals used Trent Sherfield as their WR3, but he only caught one of his three targets for 15 yards. Johnson fits the route runner mold with excellent hands. His slow feet push him into a slot role that does overlap Larry Fitzgerald. More of a play in the season-long contest until he gets a starting job. Over four games this year, Johnson has 11 catches for 109 yards on 17 targets.
TE Ricky Seals-Jones - Low Potential
In his second year in the NFL, Seal-Jones caught fewer than 50 percent of his targets (69). He finished with 34 catches for 343 yards and one TD. Ricky is only a flier with a chance to win the starting job. I don't expect an impact year in 2019.
TE Charles Clay - Deep-league Only
Fair Evaluation: Veteran TE who will be only the fourth option in the passing game for Arizona if he plays well and wins the starting job.
After averaging about 57 passes over five seasons with Buffalo and Miami, Clay lost his way in 2018 (21/184 on 36 targets). His yards per catch (8.8) came in a career low with fade in his catch rate (58.3 – 67.0 over his previous five years). The Cardinals' TE caught only 46 passes for 475 yards and one TD on 85 targets in 2018.
PK Zane Gonzalez - Not Draft Worthy
Gonzalez made 15 of his 20 field goals and 25 of 26 of his extra-points in his rookie season in 2017. His leg showed value from 50 yards or longer (2-for-3). Zane has a big leg leading to upside in the long kicks and delivering touchbacks. Last season Gonzalez missed three field goals in five attempts and two extra points in five chances that led to him losing his job with the Browns. For the Cardinals in five games, he made seven of nine field goals with two of four kicks crossing the uprights from over 50 yards. I like his leg, and I expect better going forward, but Zane can't be trusted until Arizona shows more growth on offense.
Arizona - Deep-league Only
Fair Evaluation: Arizona should be avoided as a Fantasy option in 2019 unless they show a spark early in the season.
Arizona fell to last in the NFL in rushing yards allowed (2.479 yards) in 2018 while allowing 25 TDs and 21 runs over 20 yards. Ball carriers gained only 4.96 yards per rush with 31.9 runs per game.
The Cardinals climbed to 4th in passing yards allowed (3,262) with 21 TDs and seven Ints. Their defense picked up 49 sacks while QBs gained 7.1 yards per pass attempt.
DT Corey Peters had the most playing time of his career in 2018, which led to continued success vs. the run, and relatively no upside rushing the QB. At best, Corey is a league average player who should only be on the field on running downs.
DT Rodney Gunter set career highs in tackles (44) and sacks (4.5), but he lacks impact value in any area. The Cardinals need to find an upgrade at this position in 2019.
DE Darius Philon signed a two-year deal in the offseason after spending the last two years with the Chargers. Last Philon picked up 33 tackles and four sacks.
Robert Nkemdiche is the player with upside on the defensive line, but he tore his ACL in his 2018. Nkemdiche also missed time with a calf and foot issue. The Cardinals selected him in the first round in 2016. I don't expect him to be ready for the start of the season.
Chandler Jones has been one of the top pass-rushing linebackers over the last four seasons (53.5 sacks over 63 games). He played at his highest level in 2013 (79 tackles and 11.5 sacks). Jones tends to be a neutral player vs. the run.
Terrell Suggs is at the end of his career. The Cardinals hope to squeeze one more season out of his pass rush. Last year Suggs posted seven sacks with 34 tackles. He'll work a rotational player in 2019.
Jordan Hicks signed a four-year contract in March worth $36 million. In 2018, he set a career-high in tackles (91) and sacks (3). Hicks will add value defending the run and in pass coverage.
Haason Reddick continues to improve after Arizona drafted him in the first round in 2017. Reddick delivered 80 tackles, four sacks, and five defended passes in 2018, but he regressed in run support.
Patrick Peterson is a top player at his position in coverage, but he'll miss six games due to a suspension. 2018 was one of his better seasons in the league after the Cardinals added him in the first round in 2011.
Robert Alford played well over his previous three years in coverage, but his game did regress in 2018 with the Falcons. Alford will try to regain his form this year in the desert.
Budda Baker has been a good player in run support in his two seasons in the NFL. He tends to allow a high catch rate while minimizing the damage in yards per catch and TDs. Baker doesn't have an interception in his short career. Arizona drafted him in the second round in 2017.
D.J. Swearinger will play from the Cardinals for the third time in his seven years in the NFL. He's already played for four NFL franchises. Over the last three years, Swearinger played well in coverage while averaging over 65 tackles per game with minimal value in sacks. D.J. should help in run support.
Cardinals Fantasy Defense Outlook
Arizona lacks talent in the passing rush on the defensive line, which they hope to overcome by their two pass-rushing outside linebackers. They look to be steady up the middle at the second and third levels of the defense. This loss of Patrick Peterson is going to be a problem in coverage early in the year. Overall, this defense needs the Cardinals offense to play better to control the clock. I expect regression in pass coverage with some improvement in run defense helped by fewer runs.
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